#DisneyMagicMoments: Cooking Up the Magic — Commemorate the 65th Anniversary of Disneyland with Walt’s Chili Recipe from Carnation Café

Karen McClintock

by , Food & Beverage Content Relations Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

What better way to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Disneyland than creating one of Walt’s favorite recipes at home – Chili and Beans. Not one for highly seasoned or spicy cuisine, Walt enjoyed food that was hardy and filling, and this dish fit the bill. 

Several variations of Walt’s personal Chili and Beans recipe can be found in the Walt Disney Archives – with the first recipe dating back to around 1958. Over the years, Disney chefs have refined the recipe for park guests, and today we are sharing the recipe served at Carnation Café at Disneyland park. Their version adds a bit more seasoning than the original recipe from Walt … for a subtle, spicy kick!

When you dish up this bowl of nostalgia, be sure to serve with saltine crackers – just the way Walt liked it.

Walt’s Chili and Beans from Carnation Café at Disneyland Park

Walt’s Chili and Beans from Carnation Café at Disneyland Park

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced 
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons beef base 
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • Coarse salt, to taste


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large Dutch oven, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add stew meat and sauté for 10 minutes, until meat is browned on all sides. Remove stew meat from pan and set aside.  
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to pan, heat for 3 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and green pepper. Sauté 8-10 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and sauté one minute longer, until garlic is fragrant. 
  4. Add ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up large chunks of beef, for 10-12 minutes, until beef is no longer pink. Drain excess fat. 
  5. Return stew meat to the Dutch oven with ground beef mixture. Add ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, tomato paste, fresh diced plum tomatoes, diced can tomatoes, beef base, and water. 
  6. Bring chili to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, until stew meat is tender. 
  7. Add pinto beans. Simmer for 10 minutes, until beans are warm. 
  8. Season with salt, as needed. 
  9. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced tomatoes.

Note: This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens. The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version. As a reminder while preparing this recipe, please supervise children who are helping or nearby.

Click here for a print-at-home version of this recipe.

Stay connected with Disney Parks Blog for more delicious Disney recipes and be sure to share the magic with other Disney fans using the hashtag #DisneyMagicMoments. Happy cooking!


  • WELL SHUT THE CASTLE DOOR! I just made this and It is AS MAGICAL as if you were eating it at the Park!!
    Thank You for this recipe! My daughter went back for 3rds!! THANKS, MR. DISNEY!

  • Can this be made in a crockpot?

  • I would love to know Miriam’s vegetarian adaptation! (And wouldn’t it be great if Disney included more such vegetarian adaptations on its park menus??!!)

  • This is nice and all, but can you just post the churro recipe, which is really what people want. LOL

    • Check out “Disney Recipes” under the “Topics” tab and you will find the recipe for Churro Bites! Enjoy!

  • If you look at the picture, it looks like the fresh diced tomatoes are a garnish with the sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, which means the can of diced tomatoes are added at step 5.

  • I adapted this to be vegetarian, for my husband, and he absolutely loved it!!! And I normally don’t really like vegetarian/“meat alternative” meals, but this chili was delicious and just like the real thing. We will definitely be having it again. Thank you for an awesome recipe!

  • Thank you for the recipe. I will try tomorrow.

  • The recipe looks very yummy can’t wait to try it

  • We’ve been Disney fans for 65 years and we understood that Walt mixed a can of Gebhardt Chili with a can of Hormel. He liked the flavor of the two chilies.
    Thanks for breaking down the ingredients. ~L

  • I would add the canned tomatoes in step 5 and save the fresh diced tomatoes for the garnish. The picture looks like they used fresh tomatoes for the garnish.

  • I assume all the tomatoes go in to the Dutch oven in Step 5, but I agree that the way it is phrased in the directions it’s confusing. When I make chili, the tomatoes go in just before I leave it on low to simmer.

  • Gabriel – Sounds like they’re saying both go in at that time. It is just worded differently.

  • Reply to Gabriel,

    The recipe ingredients lists “2 plum tomatoes, diced“, this is the reference to “fresh”…no canned diced tomatoes is listed.

  • Looks like fresh and canned diced tomatoes are added at same time

  • In Step 5 it says to add the “fresh, diced tomatoes” but, where does the can of diced tomatoes come into the recipe?

    • So sorry for any confusion! We have updated the recipe to clearly indicate the plum tomatoes listed under “ingredients” should be added in step 5. The small diced tomatoes listed under “garnish” can be any tomato of your choice. Enjoy!

  • I have made this several times. my family absolutely loves it!!! so delicious!

Comments are closed.